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Bow Down & Worship Me!

It’s all the rage now among liberal Catholics to say that Jesus is present in the congregation just as certainly as — and maybe more certainly than — He is present in the consecrated bread and wine. Which is why at many eucharistic celebrations these days it seems that the “gathered community” is basically celebrating or worshiping itself.

This self-deifying notion has even found its way into moderate circles, namely, the pages of Our Sunday Visitor. In its July 2, 2000, issue, J. Robinson of Illinois asked Msgr. M. Francis Mannion, who writes the Visitor’s Q&A feature, about a priest who asserted that “in the Eucharist we are consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ” (italics added). Mannion replied by affirming “this truth.”

Your Deputy Editor recently attended a Mass where the visiting priest insisted, at the Sign of Peace, that the congregants turn to others in the pew to “shake hands with the Christ next to you.” We don’t know about you, but if we were to turn to Christ, we wouldn’t be so pedestrian, so rude as to shake His hand. And we certainly wouldn’t be so idiotic as to say, “The peace of the Lord be with You always,” for He is the Lord and He is already the very definition of Peace. No, we’d exclaim, “My Lord and my God!” and then fall to the floor, beg for mercy, and perhaps dare to touch the hem of His garment.

As for your Editor, he recently attended a Mass where the visiting homilist assured the congregation from the pulpit that we “are Christ” because in receiving Communion we are consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ. Your Editor was tempted to approach the homilist after Mass and, taking him at his word, demand, “Bow down and worship Me!”

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